Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats

390                        CLASSIFICATION OF CAE.NIVORA                      CHAR

subdivisions. The caecum is never large, and may be, as in tlie
Bear tribe, completely absent.

The distribution of the Garni vora is world- wide, excluding only
the Australian region, if, as seems probable, the Bingo of that
region is an introduced species. The most striking features in
their distribution are perhaps the following : — There are no Bears
in the Ethiopian region or in Madagascar, and but a single species
in the Neotropical. The only Carnivora in Madagascar are the
Yiverridae, and of the seven genera there found six are peculiar.
The Procyonidae are nearly entirely New World in range ; out of
sixteen genera of MusteMdae only five are New World, and only
two of those are peculiar to the American continent. The
Hyaenidae are limited to the Old World.

The classification of the Carnivora is a matter which is
difficult, and which has therefore been very variously effected.
It is unfortunate that the classification of Flower (based upon
the researches of H. N. Turner as well as his own, and accepted
by Mivart) should fail when applied to fossil forms. For it
separates with great clearness the existing genera into three
great divisions, the Cynoidea, Aeluroidea, and Arctoidea, definable
by visceral as well as by osteological characters. The apparent
anomaly, too, of a single supposed "Viverrine genus, to wit
JBassttriscus, existing in America, while all the rest of its kin
are Old -World forms, was shown by Ms characters to be
neither an anomaly nor a fact. It will be better, therefore,
to divide the Carnivora into the families, Felidae, Machae-
rodontidae, Viverridae^ Hyaenidae, Canidae, Ursidae, Procyonidae,
and Mustelidae, indicating at the same time the reasons
for and against retaining the three divisions of Sir W,

Fam. 1. Felidae.1 — This family includes only the Cats (i.e. Lions,
Tigers, ** Cats," Hunting Leopard, etc.), and is to be distinguished
by the following characters : — In the skuH the auditory bulla is
much inflated, and there is an internal septum ; the paroccipital
processes are flattened against the bullae. There is no ali-
sphenoidal canal. The dental formula is I 3, C 1, Pm 3 to 2,
M \. The earnassial tooth of the upper jaw has three lobes to
the Hade ; that of the lower jaw is without an inner cusp.

1 See St. G. IMrraTt "On the AeluroMea/' Free- Zool. Soc. 1882, p. 135 : awl
* Ixxndon, ĞL Muiray, 1S8I.